Last week I wrote about Butler University in Indianapolis, the first school of higher education ever to sue one of it's own students over the content of his Internet blog. Once word of this abuse of the legal system spread outside the tight-knit world of academics and into the main stream media, plus seeing the outrage of it's own students, Butler backed off and announced that they would drop the questionable lawsuit against Jess Zimmerman.
Wrong! They were kidding! The lawsuit is still on and just in case, the Butler administrators are also going to hold their own "Kangaroo Court" to make sure Zimmerman gets what's coming to him. If they can't kick his keister legally, they'll take the law into their own hands and dish out their own punishment. All this because the administration can't take criticism on the Internet.
The situation is eerily similar to the Bush administration's dealings in Guantanamo Bay. If you can't convict lawfully, make it up as you go along. Look, we're dealing with a blog, which painted an unflattering picture of the administration. Is it really worth all the time, money and negative publicity just to get even with a student because you're thin skinned? We're not dealing with something as sinister as the Virginia Tech shootings here. (Which the administration has already compared the writings to in what has to be the ultimate in bad taste.)
Is a school entitled to discipline a student? Of course if a crime is committed. But let's get real here. We're talking about freedom of speech on the Internet; something I thought is looked upon favorably at universities. Silencing and punishing your critics went out with the Bushies.
So Butler University is going to be the first school to censor the Internet. Expect Dick Cheney to give the next commencement speech. Butler is doing him proud.
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